Japan appears to us as one of the most touristic destinations at the moment.
Cherry trees in flowers, Pagodas, Geishas, tea ceremonies, fascinate us with its thousand-year-old culture and its ancient traditions.
At the same time, it appears to us as the country of the future, where there are cars without drivers, robots suitable to perform any task, skyscrapers, neons, video games and huge screens that invade the skyscrapers.
We do not want to show either one or the other, we want to show the Japan of contradictions, that Japan that remains hidden from the eyes of tourists, but often also those of the inhabitants, because left aside.
We want to show the magical Japan we met on our journey, but magical in a different way from what they show us every day.
With an analogue machine, found among piles of small wrecks in a second-hand shop in the basement of Tokyo and with an old yellowed notebook, we try to show a different look on the land of the rising sun.
Sushi, whoever hear mentioning this word immediately thinks of Japan. Sushi is one of the most important foods of this people. Just think that this culinary style is present in every nation of the globe. Everyone now knows sushi. But how many of you know that Japan is fishing 4000 tons of tuna every year? How many people know that in Tokyo the tuna auction is held every morning as a ritual that tourists can also attend? How many of you know that in 2017 Japan has exceeded the annual tuna fishing limit putting at risk an entire marine species? How many of you know that 80% of the world tuna comes from Japanese boats? How many of you know that the massive fishing that Japan carries forward has reduced the population of bluefin tuna by 97%? How many of you know that the Japanese government is the only one that does not want to adopt international regulations for tuna fishing? How many of you know that in 2017 a single tuna was sold for more 74 million yen, about 600,000 euros and that the same buyer in 2013 paid him 155 million yen, more than double, encouraging the poaching of tuna? In ten years, moving forward with this step, there will no longer be tuna in the Pacific Ocean.
Despite being banned worldwide, Japan continues to hunt whales, last week it killed 333 of which 122 were pregnant and 114 were puppies.
Japan is the country of solitude. The noise, the signs, the lights contrast with every passenger who in solitude walk on the streets. It is the country of Azuma Hikari, a “hologram in a jar” or rather, a virtual girl to always carry with her and interact with, without wasting time on productivity.
It is the country of the now famous Hikikomori, boys who take refuge at home and never go out, living in total virtuality.
This country is the mirror of a society where the work is first of all, where you can not talk on the metro or keep the phone on, because you have to “take advantage” of the time to sleep. Those who do not collapse are considered lazy and seen as inefficient workers. A society where the appearance, the pride and the desire not to disappoint the loved ones comes first of all. This country is the other side of progress.
In Japan, renting a home is expensive. Meanwhile, jobs are increasingly unstable and poorly paid. There are increasing cases of Japanese people in difficulty who choose internet cafés as a temporary home waiting for a better future. Internet cafés are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For less than one euro, you can rent a small computer cubicle, where you can sleep on the table with your bag as a pillow. There are those who can not even afford that and seek refuge, from the cold winter, in the stations. There, the brands of the past Japanese wealth, watch their sleep as an emblem.
In recent decades, Japan has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. In fact it is practically impossible not to see tourists. A Japanese research has studied that on average more tourists arrive in Japan in a given period than in Asia in the same period. Here are some statistics:
– The literacy level in Japan is almost 99% .
– Immigration is extremely controlled. 98% of the population is of Japanese ethnicity.
– More than 1500 earthquakes occur every year.
– it is the only country against which an atomic weapon has ever been used.
– The percentage of homicides is the second lowest in the world. The homicide rate is 0.50 per 100,000 people.
– It has produced 18 Nobel Prize winners.
– It is made up of approximately 6’800 islands.
– The province of Tokyo is the largest metropolitan area in the world, with over 35 million people.
– There are more than 1,600 temples in Kyoto.
– The rate of births in Japan is so low that adult diapers are more sold than baby diapers.
– Eleven years of intensive training are required to cook puffer fish.
– It has the most punctual trains in the world with only 36 seconds of delay
– There is a drinks vending machine for every 23 people, 5.5 million machines
– There are more pets than children or children under 15 years
In Japan, all that is unseemly is left out of sight. The homeless are kept as hidden as possible and their tragedies are ignored. On 01.02.2018 a fire destroyed a residence used by “Homeless Support Hokkaido” as a shelter for homeless people. 11 dead.
The cause of the fire is a series of explosions caused by the presence of a considerable amount of kerosene bottles that were in the warehouse, to power the stoves and heat. This is not the first fire of this kind in Japan, in 2010 in Sapporo the victims were 7.
Also important is the age range of homeless people who in recent years has grown dramatically. Many are the elderly who, left alone and abandoned, come to populate the Japanese streets.